Okay – it wasn’t exactly an invasion. Not like last time anyway, when farmers in trackers stormed the Malieveld and destroyed the grass. More like a small skirmish. The Dutch government has stated that if cows are fed cattle feed that is less protein rich there will be less nitrogen released which will allow the construction sector to build new homes (aka one sector makes less nitrogen pollution to allow another sector to keep polluting).
The government ultimately decided to go ahead with the plan to reduce protein in the cattle feed. In an attempt to prevent the chaos that happened last October, the military was called in to block off certain streets so that tractors wouldn’t disrupt the city too much today.
I decided to take a quick walk over to the Malieveld this afternoon to see what was going on. The only thing I found was a van from the national public television company (NOS) waiting for something newsworthy to happen. But by this point all of the farmers were gone, so they were just standing around. Poor NOS reporters!
Blue skies all around, and we’re halfway to the weekend!
This is the old city hall of The Hague, which I have photographed a few times. The red windows are always the first thing you notice when walking past.
The dark brown building at the right of my photo has an Eat Company mural with an autumn theme, which you can just barely see. The company was changing it seasonably back in 2015-2016, but this mural was never painted over after it was added in 2016. So we’ve been stuck in autumn for the last five years almost…
Today’s news theme is apparently bikes:
Bicycle Cities Index 2019 from coya.com. Utrecht has taken the top spot on this global list. The criteria included percentage of bicycle users, safety, anti-theft measures, bicycle-related crime and road infrastructure. Go Dutchies!
France bans Dutch bike TV ad for creating ‘climate of fear’ about cars from theguardian.com. I saw the end of this commercial yesterday but didn’t think anything of it. Although I did to turn Marco and ask him “VanMoof? Who names their company VanMOOF?”. But apparently the commercial is very anti-car, including images of factories, accidents, traffic jams and flashing lights of emergency vehicles in the reflection of the car before it melts and reforms as a bike.
World’s second biggest bike garage opens in The Hague from nltimes.nl. With space for nearly 8,000 bikes! It’s found underground at The Hague’s Centraal Station. And can you guess who has the biggest bike garage in the world currently? Also the Dutchies. Utrecht – not a coincidence considering my first news point above – has a bike garage with space for 12,000 bikes (!).
I think the morning and early afternoon were relatively dry, but how would I know? Work kept me inside sadly. By the time everything got sorted in the late afternoon, the sky was a dark grey and rain was looming. But Marco and I both needed fresh air, so we did not let that stop us. And sure, we got rained on, but at least we got our fresh air…
But in the spirit of that, I’ll share a photo of the Palace Gardens which I took last week:
Lovely blue skies, great temperatures, all you could want without ever having to leave your hometown.
Although that one stray tree branch in the top middle of the photo does look a bit out of place. Anyone have a ladder and a tree cutter?
In other news, The Hague libraries will be opening up a bit more starting tomorrow (1 July), as the Dutch government has relaxed some of the corona measures. Unfortunately it is still only open 12:00-17:00 Monday through Saturday. But you can go there to study, read newspapers, visit the café for coffee and snacks, etc. You can also use library computers for up to 60 minutes per day. See more (in Dutch) at Studeren, uw krantje lezen en meer: veel kan weer!
Check out the sign that I spotted outside a local bar:
Perhaps I should have stopped for a craft beer. Sounds good!
(What’s with the weird lining in the word ‘here’ though? The rest of the words only have one line.)
In other news… did you know we live in a banana republic now?
You can click the link in the Regio15 tweet to see the article in Dutch, but the general summary is: some people are still not happy that the Viruswaanzin demonstrations were banned two weekends in a row, so they went to the Paleis van Justitie (Justice Palace) and left bananas to signify we now live in a banana republic.
In previous years I have posted about the Veteran’s Day activities in The Hague – generally there is a parade and events at the Malieveld. However, things are different this year due to the corona crisis. But I was able to spot a veteran being interviewed at the Malieveld yesterday:
It’s possible the interview will show up in a piece on the national broadcast newschannel (NOS) today or perhaps a short-lived TV commercial.
Oh, and I was nice enough to crop the horse… leavings… out of the photo. Welcome to The Netherlands. Occasionally mounted police patrol the city, especially during events like the should-not-have-been-held demonstration last weekend on the Malieveld. Or maybe it was from a Black Lives Matter demonstration the week before that. But then no one cleans up after the police horses, so the excrement sits there for weeks.
And speaking of that should-not-have-been-held demonstration from last week: the group requested again to hold a demonstration tomorrow at the Malieveld but they were again denied by the mayor of The Hague – see this article at nltimes.nl. The leader said that he would still come as an individual (not a demonstrator) and asked other demonstrators to come as “individuals” as well.
Maybe they should bring picnic baskets? Considering there were over 400 arrests last Sunday, it looks like it will again be interesting in The Hague tomorrow…
Edited to add: the leader is now saying that he will no longer come to the Malieveld and he requests that other demonstrators also do not come (article in Dutch at nos.nl).
The Netherlands is in a minor heatwave that will last for about 3 and a half days. High 80s, low 90s temperatures (Fahrenheit). That does not sound that hot, but for us poor souls without air conditioning (or an office to retreat to) – whew! I am warm. I didn’t have as much trouble yesterday, but today I am definitely feeling it. We have one more day of high temperatures tomorrow before the weather turns on Saturday, including a bit of rain.
From next week the corona statistics that RIVM (National Institute of Public Health) reports will be reported on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. Statistics include number of positive cases, hospital intakes and deaths. This is because the corona crisis is winding down. For now at least.
However, the government announced today that the rules could be adjusted sooner due to the situation improving faster than expected. Or maybe it was because the number of demonstrations and protestors was increasing fast. At any rate, what was supposed to be relaxed on 1 September will instead be relaxed on 1 July, for the most part.
Kerkplein (“church plaza”) is a plaza by the Grote Kerk and the Old City Hall, the latter being where Marco and I were married in 2013 – very cool.
The church is the wall just on the right edge of the picture. In the distance is a terrace for the Anne and Max café, which Marco and I visited a few weeks ago. Spoiler: I can recommend it!
The photo above is looking across the Kerkplein towards a building across the street. The same flowers in the foreground were used in 2013. The city frequently puts out those red flowers – they even made an appearance in Marco and I’s wedding photos!
As always, if you are in this area I can recommend the Cheesecake Company which is just off the right edge of the above photo. Tasty!